04/02/1928 Belfast Wales 1-2 Jimmy Chambers
Elisha Scott, Andy McCluggage, Billy McConnell, Sam Irving, Gerry Morgan, Tom Sloan, Jimmy Chambers, Jimmy Dunne, Hugh Davey, Pat McConnell, Jackie Mahood
Ireland narrowly lost to Wales 2-1 at Windsor Park, Belfast in this 1927-28 British Home Championship match. Ireland were a better side than the scoreline suggested as they had defeated England in their opening group game 2-0 and would go onto defeat Scotland 1-0 at Firhill Park (with a 4-0 defeat to France sandwiched in between!). This however, was Wales’ final match and they could also look back on defeating England at Turf Moor and drawing at home to Scotland. In a rare occurrence England finished bottom of the championship table losing all three of their matches including a 5-1 drubbing at home to the ‘Wembley Wizards’ aka Scotland. Ireland meanwhile took second place on 4 points, Scotland third with 3 points and Wales winning the tournament outright with 5 points.
Wales were the best team in the tournament that particular season and it showed on the heavy Windsor Park pitch as they showed their superior skill set against Ireland on a wet Saturday afternoon, especially in the half-back department. Wales could have won by more if it wasn’t for the first class display of goalkeeper Elisha Scott (Liverpool) and the defenders Andy McCluggage and Billy McConnell both of whom played for Reading. Patrick McConnell who would later go onto manage Barcelona and Jimmy Dunne were both making their debuts for Ireland.
Ireland played into the wind in the first half and this may have been the cause for Tom Sloan (Cardiff City) miss-kicking the ball which subsequently found its way to William Hole (Swansea Town) who squared to teammate William Davies (Cardiff City) to score.
Ireland lost Gerry Morgan (Nottingham Forest) for a short time after hurting his leg. Sloan covered in the centre-half position but despite being a man down the Irish equalised on 30 minutes from Jimmy Chambers (Bury).
The half-time score remained Ireland 1-1 Wales
On resumption of the game Morgan had returned for Ireland and Sloan resumed his duties at wing-half, but he had a torrid time as Wales’ Hole beat his man time and time again. Ireland could have taken the lead when Jackie Mahood (Belfast Celtic) was through but intercepted by Thomas Evans (Newcastle United) who cleared.
On 55 minutes Wales scored their second goal of the game and ultimately the winner. Unfortunately for the Irish it was a mistake from goalkeeper Scott that led to the Welsh goal. Scott dropped the leather in the slippery condition and a scramble ensued on the goal line which Wilfred Lewis (Swansea Town) managed to charge down and into the net, taking Scott with him!
Final score Ireland 1 – 2 Wales.
* Trivia –
The game was subdued after the news was heard about the death of Andy Bothwell earlier in the day who played outside-right for Ards Football Club and Ireland. Andy was in his prime at only 27 years of age when he died due to Peritonitis from a burst appendix.